Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Years ago in our little hamlet in Yucaipa, my dare-to-be-different friend Rachel and her husband Adam were visiting and oh-so-casually mentioned "Thomas Jefferson Education." I remember them saying something about a "list of classics" and "parents should read the books before the kids do" but it was all a blur because on the same trip I believe we celebrated the New Year AND one of their daughters broke her arm AND in our usual manner we covered ninety-four-thousand other topics too.

Innocently, my lovely friend Beth mentioned this same book on the phone the other day. So I ordered it. And ever since, my life has been in a turmoil. Over the past six years, I have become a fan of Classical Education. It makes sense, it sounds good, and all the best stuff I read supports it. When I put it into practice last year with Laura Berquist's book and her private school - it went okay, but it seemed a little dry for us. So I ordered something "jazzier" this year. And jazzy does not equal Classic. It's not on the opposite end of the spectrum, but it's still not Classic(al). We had a great first three days, but by day four, I received my copy of A Thomas Jefferson Education, by Oliver DeMille, from Amazon and was diving in head first.

In this diving analogy, let's just say I bonked my head on the bottom of the pool and paralyzed myself. Not permanently, praise God, but I had to take Tuesday off of homeschool altogether because I was a dizzy mess.

I'm going to spare you the entire tale of all I'm thinking about educational philosophy and my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher/tutor/mentor and tell you that we picked up today where we left off last Thursday (we have Fridays off already, Monday was Labor Day, and Tuesday was the dizzy day). However,  I'm looking into attending a local seminar on mentoring, putting together a discussion group on Black Beauty, and anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Junior Classics set we ordered on e-Bay.


Okay, facetious bitterness aside, I'm actually excited about doing some pretty serious studying myself. To start with, I am following DeMille's recommendations at the end of the book and am now nearly half through The Chosen, by Chaim Potok. Better go read!


littlecbsmom said...

Wow! I just finished this book too! It has come up many times and I wanted to read it, and I found a copy this summer at a book sale for $2!!! Major score!

I too was greatly impacted by it and feel I too need to study more! I am excited and nervous about the way it challenged me! I am reading Anne of Green Gables as my first classic!

I can't wait to hear more of what you do. Is the book club for kids? I want to do that..but am thinking they need to be a little older?

Teri said...

Are you reading Anne of Green Gables right now? It's so good. That was the only one on his list of first reads that I'd already read, so I'm reading The Chosen, by Chaim Potok (maybe I said that in my post?)
Yes, the book club will be for kids. We'll see how it goes, it might take some getting used to before they jump into discussion. We'll see... Joseph really got excited about the idea (which is funny since he is the quietest when we discuss reading right now).

janelle said...

Please expand on what was in this Thomas Jefferson book, so I know if I should read it too!
I love the idea of classical education too!

Rachel said...

Your mention of that trip brings back so many memories, it WAS action, and conversation-packed! Remember, like anything, just do what you can and it will still bless your family, even if you're not doing it "perfectly".